St. John’s basketball has everything to gain as season closes

St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball has everything in front of them as the regular season closes. 

A loss to Big East basement dweller DePaul (4-13, 2-13 Big East) looked to be the end of the road for the St. John’s basketball team.

The team’s six game winning streak and wins in seven of eight games all thrown out the window because of one off night for the Johnnies (15-10, 9-9 Big East) and the best game of the season for the Blue Demons.

Things only got worse in a 23-point blowout loss to No. 8 Villanova (16-4, 11-3 Big East) where freshman guard Posh Alexander left the court in an immense amount of pain in the final minutes of the loss. Luckily, the injury only turned out to be a sprained thumb.

In its first game without the favorite for the Big East Freshman of the Year Award, the Red Storm got back to its defensive roots in the second half against Providence (12-12, 8-10 Big East), outscoring the Friars 51-26 en route to a 14-point victory.

Head coach Mike Anderson would not divulge any other information on the status of his starting point guard but referred to him as “day to day”.

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Alexander looked eager to get back on the floor, dribbling with his left hand in pregame warmups despite having his right thumb wrapped.

The status of Posh Alexander is unknown for Saturday’s meeting in the regular season finale against Seton Hall (13-11, 10-8 Big East) but senior guard Rasheem Dunn has proven that he is more than capable of filling the role with a career-high 21 points against the Friars.

Assuming Alexander is able to return for the Big East Tournament, at the latest, Saturday’s meeting with the Pirates is pivotal for the Johnnies because it would secure a bye into the Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

If St. John’s was to win, it could knock Seton Hall off the bubble of the NCAA Tournament and put the Red Storm back on the radar with a potential third meeting with the Pirates or Xavier Musketeers (13-6, 6-6 Big East) on Thursday afternoon in the conference tournament.

Potential St. John’s basketball path to glory

No. 10 Villanova secured the top seed in the Big East Tournament but it came at a severe cost as All-American point guard Collin Gillespie tore his MCL in the Wildcats’ victory over No. 14 Creighton (17-7, 13-6 Big East), making the National Title contender much more vulnerable as the heart of March approaches.

St. John’s has encountered two polar opposite results against the ‘Cats this season, but the defensive style of Red Storm would benefit the Johnnies against Villanova without its star point guard.

Creighton, the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament, also appears to be in shambles after the fallout with head coach Greg McDermott, who has recently been suspended after making racially insensitive comments after his team lost to Xavier last week.

UConn (13-6, 10-6 Big East) is locked in as the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and are playing the best basketball in the league since the return of star point guard James Bouknight, coupled with the issues of the top two teams.

If St. John’s were to win against Seton Hall on Saturday, it would not have to see the Huskies until a potential Big East Tournament Championship.

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It’s still a long shot, but a path to the Red Storm making a run at Madison Square Garden next week and into Indianapolis in two weeks seems a little more feasible at the moment.

The coaches and players still must take things one game at a time, but St. John’s fans are beginning to dream of the Johnnies appearing on the television screen on Sunday, March 14, and it might not be that crazy of a concept anymore.

Everything continues for the St. John’s basketball program on Saturday, March 6 against the Seton Hall Pirates in Carnesecca Arena at 7:00pm EST (Fox Sports 1).